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Film Music / Study 11

Why is the score so much more a part of film than live theater?

Of course filmmakers can make films without music but the composer and "the conditioned reflexes of the cinema audience have made music a vital ingredient in the production of a film" (Huntley, 1957). Are there differences in emotional distance in movies and plays?

Walter Leigh writes that every sound in film, unlike theater, is taken as significant and purposeful (Huntley, 1957). What is the difference? Does music take away from the spontaneity of the play? Does it add to the emotional present? Does no music make the movie version appear more or less real? What about a recording of a live performance? Would this benefit more or less from an added score?

Experimenters should divide subjects into four groups. They could show the first group the film version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest without any music and show the second group the film version with music. The third and fourth groups should be shown the stage version with and without music, respectively; the decision as to whether to show a live stage version or a videotape of a live performance should be made ahead of time.

Showing a videotaped version of the performance, while logistically easier, cannot tease out emotional distance effects. However, because of the nature of live performance, each subject would see a slightly different show. In order to avoid this problem, all subjects could be exposed to the show at once. Since subjects may affect each other's emotional responses, researchers may wish to show both videotaped and live performances in order to avoid confounded variables.

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